Painting faces: Tips for more ‘natural’ looking face painting

With Halloween just a few days away I know that alot of you are deciding what costume to wear or are trying to figure out what makeup to pair with your costumes. Most people will probably just limit their accompanying makeup to a bold lip or eye but I know there will still be a fair few of you who decide to go the whole hog and paint your whole face.

Face painting sounds easy but I think that the basic rules of makeup application are often forgotten when doing it and so the result is quite flat and fake looking. I understand that face painting by its nature results in a fake look as your whole face is often covered in unnatural colours such as green or purple but that doesn’t mean your face has to look devoid of any dimension.

I decided to do this post because a few days ago I was trying to explain to my friend’s sister how she could utilise different shades of the same colour to contour and highlight her face even though she wanted it to be green. The colours she used were the same as the ones that I used for my second attempt at the lacy halloween mask look. I told her she could use the gold colour as a highlight, the lightest green as blush, the darkest green as a contour shade and the mid tone green shade all over her face as her base colour.

I was curious as to how and if I could actually do what I was asking her to do so I gave it a go. The first thing to do when covering your whole face is applying a primer so that there is a barrier between your skin and the colour and I used the Korres Vitamin E face primer. I was considering what the best way was to apply the eyeshadow as an all over base for my face as powdered products usually end up looking too sheer and offer minimal coverage. The solution I came up with was to mix some of my Diorskin Nude foundation with the mid tone green eyeshadow until it formed a thick paste. I then applied it all over my face and I was suprised at how opaque and even it came out.

The next thing I did was to take the darkest green shadow with my MAC 130 brush and contoured under my cheekbone. The problem with the colour was that it didn’t end up being dark enough so I used my MAC contour powder in Definitive and that worked well. I used the lightest green colour as a blush on the apples of my cheeks and then used the gold shadow as a highlight on my cheekbone. Here was the end result:

I included a picture in black and white so you can focus on the contouring rather than the colour.

You can hopefully see that my face still has definition even though it’s been painted. Painting your face in this way is just in line with how you normally do your makeup except the colours are completely different. If you think about it, the reason we add blush, contour and highlight when doing our daily makeup is because when our skin is covered in foundation we often loose the natural definition our skin already has. These principle still hold regardless of what colour you use as base.

The same rules of daily makeup application still apply to the eye makeup as well so I used the lightest green shadow all over my lid, the gold shadow as an inner corner highlight and a mixture of the darkest green shadow and MAC Carbon eyeshadow in the outer v and in the crease. I then lined my top lashline with MAC fluidline in blacktrack and applied my YSL Singulier mascara. I also used my Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on eye pencil in Envy (emerald green) along my waterline and bottom lashline to add some subtle definition. I also had to define my eyebrows using my Blacktrack Fluidline because they were getting lost amongst all the green and my eyes weren’t being framed properly.

The eye look I went for was natural in the sense that I didn’t use colours that stood out against the green. If I had wanted to do a more dramatic look (although you can’t get much more dramatic than a green face!) then I would have left my lids free of the green base and just primed and put on my eye makeup as I usually do. I personally would have gone with an= bright purple eyeshadow if I wanted to bring the drama but that’s just me.

I decided to do my lips a classic red like that on the poster for the musical Wicked. I used my NYX Jumbo lip pencil in Deep Red and used it to both line and fill in my lips. Usually to get a crisp shape for red lips you would go around the edges with your concealer but because I used green that wasn’t really possible. What I ended up doing was taking more of the mixture of my foundation and the midtone green shadow and applying it with a concealer brush around my lips. I could also have used a green eyeliner given that it blended in with my base colour.

One last tip to remember when doing face painting is that blending is key and you need to ensure you get an even colour all over your face. Also remember to cover any skin that is showing with your base colour because nothing ruins a look more than a completely different coloured face and neck!

I hope you found this post helpful or that at the least you found it informative or amusing even if it holds no practical application for you. Happy Halloween!

Categories: halloween, how to


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